A panel of researchers found that a warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration on testosterone replacement therapy’s safety lacks any basis since its side-effects lack any scientific evidence.
Testosterone, first and foremost, helps men to be men by giving them their specific traits such as a beard, hoarse voice, strong muscles, and other manly features.
It also helps them with sperm production, fuels sexual desire, and prevents impotence if its levels are normal. Researchers also believe that testosterone boosts cognitive functions and encourages red blood cell production.
But as men get older their testosterone levels steadily decline triggering a cohort of health conditions that affect their life quality.
According to previous studies, men that enter their 40s experience a 1 percent decline of their testosterone every passing year. So, when they hit their 50s or 60s, they may start to experience some consequences such as lower bone and muscle density, lack of vitality and sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and so on.
In the worst cases, men having low testosterone levels are diagnosed with hypogonadism, which is a condition that affects up to six million men in the U.S., but only 5 percent undergo testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) to fix the issue.
Although various studies have confirmed the benefits of TRT such as improved vitality, sexual desire, better mood and brain functions, there isn’t a scientific consensus on the risks it may imply. Moreover, many people fear that artificially pumping testosterone into your body may trigger prostate cancer especially in middle-age.
And to top that up, the US FDA cautioned in March that TRT’s benefits for age-related testosterone problems remain widely unclear. Two months ago, the FDA also urged producers of testosterone medications to mention on labels the risks of stroke and heart attacks.
But Dr. Sandeep Dhindsa said Friday at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists’ annual congress that the FDA failed to properly define the term “aging” so remains unclear whether TRT should not be used by middle-aged individuals.
Dhindsa also said that the FDA didn’t disclose that low testosterone levels play a significant role in obesity and diabetes since adolescence. He also recommended that the decision of undergoing a TRT should be based on symptoms and testosterone levels rather than on “the underlying cause.”
Dr. Susan Davis is a strong advocate for TRT because the therapy had been used for decades in treating women diagnosed with HSDD, or chronic lack of sexual desire, with no “emergent” side-effects.
The AACE also said that there was no “compelling” evidence of a link between testosterone medications and cardiovascular risks.
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